New Jersey is looking to become an East Coast leader when it comes to electric vehicles, as the state announced a new interagency partnership this week that aims to build out charging infrastructure in the hopes of getting 330,000 ZEVs registered in-state by 2025.
The initiative, the New Jersey Partnership to Plug-In, will coordinate the state’s Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Authority to “create a strategic and streamlined framework to support New Jersey’s electric vehicle ecosystem.” From the announcement:
Each agency will have its own direct set of tasks to deploy several critical aspects of electrification such as, mapping of existing and planned charging infrastructure assets; installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the state; working with lawmakers to establish an electric vehicle rebate program to incentivize adoption of electric vehicles among New Jersey residents; and creating an attractive corporate environment for ZEV-related primary and secondary companies.
In February, the state announced it was using a portion of its first round of funding from its Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement allotment on 827 new public chargers, through $3.2 million in grants under the “It Pay$ to Plug In” program. New Jersey has already built more than 100 new public charging stations through that electric infrastructure program.
While New Jersey won’t measure up to California when it comes to EV adoption, it looks to have a healthy competition of sorts with neighboring New York. New York is targeting 800,000 ZEVs by 2025, and 2 million by 2030. The goals are higher in the Empire State for sure, but New York also has more than double the population of New Jersey.
New Jersey also has a full sales tax exemption for all-electric vehicles. That’s a big incentive, and something New York is considering, at least partially.
The ZEV goal isn’t the only pro-EV measure New Jersey is taking, either. This week, the state announced that with its second round of funds from the Volkswagen settlement, it’s aiming to deploy electric heavy-duty garbage trucks, school buses, and port-related vehicles.
The state DEP is looking to use the funding for these specific projects:
- Red Hook Terminals LLC, Port Newark, 10 electric yard tractors;
- United Airlines, Newark Airport, 39 electric ground support equipment;
- City of Jersey City, five electric garbage trucks;
- IKEA Distribution Services North America, four electric terminal tractors and five “last mile” electric delivery trucks in Westampton, Camden, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Cherry Hill;
- Best Transportation, Port Newark, four electric yard tractors;
- Regional Industries LLC, Elizabeth, five electric garbage trucks;
- Student Transportation of America Inc., Trenton, five electric school buses;
- International Motor Freight, Port Newark, one electric drayage (short-distance shipping) truck;
- Hudson County Motors Inc., Essex and Hudson counties, four electric drayage trucks.
It’s tough to set a goal for customers to buy a certain amount of electric cars by a certain year because there are so many factors, and each person is different. New Jersey has a long way to go, based on this map of registered EVs and PHEVs as of last December.
However, if you’re going to try to accelerate adoption on the state level, all you can do is invest in infrastructure and offer state customer incentives. New Jersey is doing both, and there’s nothing to say they can’t do more as time goes on (oh, and don’t increase EV fees like Illinois or Ohio).
Also, a recent study of what states plan to do with their Dieselgate funds gave New Jersey a C, though the grades are subject to change — it’s possible this new round of electric-focused projects may raise that grade.
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